“If you do, what you have always done,
you will continue to get, what you always got.”
This so called pandemic has forced us to face ourselves.
If we really claim that we need and want change in the world, we have to face the shadows and clean the. out from our system. Because that what is causing this break down and crisis.
Any negative attachment, habit, thought or belief that kept you and this world in this negative loop.
Everything has to be looked at and deprogrammed before we can make real changes for the better.
Transformation Awakening and Ascension come from within you.
Shadow work is required before you can climb and elevate towards the light collectively.
There is no short cut.
And claiming we want change and not doing the shadow work is called a spiritual by pass.
You have to walk through the dark in order to identify and shed the layers that have caused this crisis.
Looking away from the dark is enabling it,s existence.
Understandable because it is so hard, but ineffective.
If you do what you always have done. You will continue to get what you have always gotten.
No more. No less.
Mastery of the Self is the art of self-actualization, autonomy and authenticity.
Are you aware that you can sit at the drivers wheel and control your system and reality?
Learn how to free yourself from past and limitations by reconditioning your mind and body.
Learn how to change reality by changing your energy.
Deepen the knowledge about yourself, your own system in all layers, from survival mechanisms to your unique gifts.
Broaden your awareness and ability to fully actualize yourself in the creation of your own life.
Consciousness provides choices for transformation and awakening into higher dimensions of reality in your life.
My book “Bridge to the 5th dimension” is now available and expected within a couple of weeks.
Sending love into the world
💗💗💗 💗💗💗 💗💗💗 💗💗💗 💗💗💗 💗💗💗 💗💗💗 💗💗💗 💗💗💗 💗💗💗 💗💗💗 💗💗💗
Aug 4, 2021
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by Inelia Benz
In the past week I have had several conversations with individuals who got jabbed and now realized it was a huge decision with massive consequences.
What is this huge decision?
In 2011, we as one of many species on Earth, decided that we were not all going to choose to expand our awareness to a high-frequency experience and empowered, sovereign conscious manifestations. Those of us who decided to continue with a low frequency reality have had to, since then, work very hard to separate, stay “unaware of the consequences of their choices” and are required to embody their choice physically ‘by their own hand’.
The first clear choice to take a huge action towards the decision the person made in 2011 (most people took this choice subconsciously – higher-self level only), is to get a jab that will make the person sick (lower their physical body frequency) at best, and bring about their exit through disconnect or death at worst. After they die, they will incarnate on a planet that is co-creating a fear based existence of power over others pretty much like it has been on Earth for several thousand years now in this timeline. We might say that they are stepping into a different timeline, but that statement is not 100% accurate. It is more like a different option in a different reality altogether. A little bit like Lemuria being in our timeline, but in a different reality spectrum.
Going back to the choice that these individuals made surrounding the type of paradigm they want to embody, let’s say that the clear signs is that through fear of a virus, or fear of losing something like a job, freedom of travel, loved ones etc.. These individuals took the jab.
Most people who took the jab are still strong in their decision and are still very much afraid and almost dictatorial in their righteousness around getting the jab.
There are some who did the above, then woke up to its true meaning and the consequences of having taken the jab, and now have changed their mind. For those people, here is my advice:
- Process your fear of sickness and death
- Process your fear that you are now stuck in the low-frequency paradigm.
- Process your fear that you cannot change your mind.
- Get your affairs in order, as there is a very high possibility that you will die within the next year or two.
- Keep away from pets and children, as there is growing evidence that you are shedding poisonous toxins into the environment and many pets and even unborn babies are dying or getting very sick over it.
- Don’t drive. Vaccidents are growing in numbers every day. Erratic driving causing deadly accidents, or people simply dying at the wheel from unexplainable reasons. Hang up your car keys, or sell your car. Use taxis, ubers, public transport or get lifts.
- Tell everyone you love, that you love them.
- When you start feeling negative health issues, mental confusion or other signs, tell your doctor and make a record of it. Post it on your FB page, youtube and other locations. Don’t hide it.
“That’s all very well,” you might think, “but what about my soul and body choice of going to continue on a low-frequency paradigm?”
- Do the fear processing exercise over getting stuck in a hellish world.
- Clean your entourage.
- State out loud, with the voice of power, that you have changed your mind. You now choose to embody a high-frequency experience.
- Use the tools on my site and START EMBODYING THE NEW-PARADIGM. No one else can do this for you. No one can save you but yourself.
- Support and help everyone in your family who got the jab to get their affairs in order.
One thing about freewill, we can always change our minds. What does this mean in this lifetime? The jab is not a casual or light thing. If you didn’t get the information before you got the jab it was your higher-self choice. I have elderly relatives that can hardly use the internet in Chile, and they found the information without any input from me. If they did it, you would have done so too if your higher-self decision had been to embody a high-frequency paradigm.
So if now you can see what this is all about and have changed your mind, this is what you have to understand:
- Death is not the end of experience.
- Is there hope of no sickness, separation, disconnection or death? Yes, some of the jabs were placebo. We don’t know the percentage but there have been independent testing that have identified some jabs to contain a saline solution only, no poisons or nanoparticles. For more information on this, research Dr. Tom Cowen’s work.
- I want you to say the following sentence like a mantra from now on:
“Throughout time, space and existence, I am fully conscious and aware of the consequences of my actions.”
Now think about those people who feel they have wronged you, or you feel they have wronged you and state:
“Throughout time, space and existence, you are fully conscious and aware of the consequences of your actions.”
I have not taught this powerful mantra before. It is something I have used with huge effect and feel this is the time to release it.
I hear many people talk about “forgiveness”, but here’s the thing: “forgiveness” implies allocation of blame and guilt. It is a core aspect of the victim/aggressor paradigm. Redefine this energy of blame and guilt and put it into awareness and ability to respond. Use the mantra above instead.
- Drop the blame and guilt of yourself or others, and become fully aware of the consequences of your actions instead. It is the best thing you can do for yourself and the world.
I cannot give you a meaningful reason for why the timing of your expansion of awareness over this jab came after you got it. It happened. Now do your best to minimize the effects it has on the human collective.
- Can prayer, Jesus, meditation or alternative healing methods change what you did to your body by getting the jab? Not really. The co-creative decision of what this means is way bigger than one person or one body. BUT, at the same time, you CAN change your mind of what happens to your body and you from now on, and also there are spontaneous healings within our agreed upon reality. And I can assure you that spontaneous healings don’t happen through fear. Go to my site and read the hundreds of articles I have placed there the past 11 years. That will get you out of fear and into the path of self-empowerment.
See you on the other side.
Energy Sleuth, [27.07.21 19:25]
Full article here ..
Fear processing Exercise
PS: Here is our latest podcast episode: It’s bait, don’t bite it!
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 56:49 — 26.3MB) | Embed
In this episode, Bernhard and Laura discuss the difference between discernment, judgment, and intuition in regards to spiritual work and truth-seeking. They discuss the difference between intuition, gut feelings, and head-centric thinking, as well as the importance of emotional intelligence, a still mind, and compassion in order to access deeper levels of intuition and how to apply critical thinking without falling into analysis paralysis. In the second part, they discuss the idea of judgment and how our judgments are often fed by projections, misunderstandings, and how these judgments may also be a trauma response and/or shadow projection. They also discuss how to be discerning with regards to the information overload of the internet and within the current marketplace of spirituality and “conspiracies”, and why it’s important to be discerning with ourselves and our true intentions, especially when we are truth-seeking, the issues of social media, distractions, along with much more.
Show Notes Part 1:
- The difference between Intuition and a gut feeling
- We can mistake all kinds of feelings for Intuition
- True intuition is not a feeling and is impartial
- You can’t trust all feelings
- The prerequisite for accessing deeper levels of intuition is a quiet mind
- The connection between trusting your intuition and healthy self-love
- Making decisions from the head vs. intuitive impressions
- The trap of analysis-paralysis
- Importance of consistent meditation practice and getting into the body
- How to use Discernment: intuition and critical thinking
- Discernment in Relationships
- What makes us feel good is not necessarily good for us or true (people, information, etc)
- Sincere self-work and self-knowledge are imperative to become more discerning
- What makes us feel bad/uneasy/irritated is not necessarily bad for us or false but may be the result of emotional bias, shadow triggers, wounding
- Discernment implies separating the message (teaching) from the messenger (teacher), being aware of positive/negative shadow projections
- The danger of throwing out the baby with the bathwater and black&white thinking
- The issue of bad journalism in today’s popular “guru exposure”
- People feeding off sensationalism in the truth and spiritual community
- How do we talk about other people’s work critically with discernment without falling into character assassination, gossip, and shadow projections?
- Discernment, Conscience, and Right Speech
- Occult negative entities feed off of gossip, outrage porn, and shadow projections
- Using divination tools (Tarot, I Ching, etc) to hone your intuition without becoming dependent on them
- There is only so much self-work you can do on your own
- The difference between true and false resonance
- Intellectual sophism and manipulation
- What is Judgment?
- The New Age spiritual distortions of Judgment
- Judgment and seeing with the eyes of the Divine
In Part 2 (only for members) we’ll be going deeper into:
- Reflection on the quote by the Mother on Judgment
- Relationship between Judgment and Discernment
- Assumptions and projections vs. truth
- You truly need to know a person very well and for a long time to accurately “judge” them
- Issue of miscommunication, misunderstanding on social media resulting is false judgment
- People lack basic language skills and suffer from short attention span due to technology
- Consider another person’s background and perspective: external consideration
- The difference between how people appear on social media vs. in real life
- The energy behind written words regardless of intellectual cunning vocabulary
- The issue with online written communication and texting
- Issue of processing with people via email and messaging
- The importance of self-remembering when interacting with others to avoid projections and assumptions about another person
- The energetic difference between the membership forum and public social media
- Social media addiction and dopamine
- The Group Zoom Calls and one-on-one work
- Shyness and stepping out of your comfort zone
- Our discernment/judgment can be off when getting into an unconscious trauma response
- Just because we don’t resonate with certain teachings doesn’t imply that there is something off about the teacher
- What works for one may not work for another
- We need to be aware/discerning not to project into others what works for us, assuming that it will work for them as well
- Psychic/intuitive deception: Getting a clean read on a deceptive situation
- Test your intuition about another person via impartial observation over time
- Bernhard’s most poplar blog “Organic Portals – Soulless Humans” is misunderstood and distorted by most people who make all kinds of false judgments about others
- You need emotional strength and compassion to access deeper intuition about other people
- Choosing comforting lies vs. inconvenient truth in relationships, ignoring/shutting off your intuition
- Authenticity, Inauthenticity, and Discernment
- Personality vs. Essence
- Discernment in conspiracy research and going down the rabbit hole
- Importance of focus and mind discipline without getting distracted
- Information overload: Be discerning with yourself and take charge of your attention
- Careful of getting hooked on information – what is your intention?
- Lack of discernment and head-centric approach can get you lost in the rabbit hole of “truth-seeking” on the internet, buying into false conspiracies
- Your Facebook timeline is an echo chamber due to manipulated algorithm
December 4, 2019 Bernhard Guenther Posted in: Part 1, Podcast Episode Tagged: Critical Thinking, Discernment, Disinformation, Embodiment, Emotional Intelligence, Intuition, Judgment, Social Media, Truth, Truth Seeking
Monday, December 28, 2020
Our activation was a huge success, we have reached the critical mass many times over with about 400,000 people participating in the meditation.
The meditation sent a strong flash of energy into the planetary energy grid, with tectonic plates reacting and volcanoes erupting:
Exactly at 6:22 pm UTC on December 21st, a very strong pulse of pure galactic Love energy has reached the surface of the planet from M 87 galaxy. The pulse lasted for about 10-15 seconds, but it was strong enough to instantly remove about 10% of all remaining primary anomaly that is accumulated close to the surface.
Many people meditating have felt this pulse, and it has brought instantaneous emotional and spiritual, and sometimes even physical healing to some people. Many traumatic events were erased from the energy fields of certain Lightworkers and Lightwarriors, and huge healing of the heart took place.
From then on, clearing of the primary anomaly on the surface of this planet is taking place.
The Light Forces have also managed to anchor pure Light on the surface of the planet for the first time since 1996. Many Light beings and goddesses were present in their energy bodies around people meditating, and they have managed to take a quite detailed sample of the Matrix structure. With greater understanding of the quantum structure of the Matrix, they are now removing exotic quantum dark technologies with full speed. They have also begun with gradual clearing of the implants of the surface humanity, and you can help them in this process with implant removal techniques mentioned here:
The Light Forces are also continuing with the removal of the Chimera and this goes quite well in full alignment with their plan. They have already managed to remove over 50% of all Chimera underground bases, among them almost all of the ultra deep Chimera underground bases which are located more than 8 miles deep, just above the Mohorovicic discontinuity, the boundary between Earth crust and mantle:
Also, over 50% of the physical Chimera spiders are already gone. The Light Forces have also removed the spider king who was the main occult force behind countless wars throughout human history.
There is another pair of physical spider king and spider queen still remaining. They came from Rigel star system in 1996 and are since then situated in a Chimera underground base below Congo. The male counterpart is now the main occult force behind the quarantine status of planet Earth and the occult force behind coronavirus lockdowns (quarantine phase 2), whereas the female spider is the main occult force inhibiting Soul contact and unconditional love. They will both be removed soon.
In September 2019, I have warned about Jesuit plans for their version of the financial Reset which they have scheduled for January 2020:
The Jesuits are well versed in astrology, and they knew for a long time that Saturn Pluto conjunction in January 2020 was the greatest opportunity to trigger their plans, and this is when they triggered first public announcements about the coronavirus. Let us explore what is behind their plans.
After the formation of BRICS / Eastern positive alliances in 2014 and 2015, the Jesuits have shifted their main base to China and moved many Cabal agents there. Those agents took many positions within the Chinese government in the 2015-2019 timeframe, and immediately started the project of infiltrating the West:
Most people are not aware that communism is a Jesuit creation:
What is even less known is that some of those Chinese agents infiltrating the West are actually positive Red Dragons posing as CCP members.
Orsini black nobility family is the main force behind pandemics since medieval times when they have engineered the black plague, and also the main force behind vaccination programs.
Bill Gates, Anthony Fauci and George Soros, together with certain people at the top levels of Chinese government are their main minions who made the pandemic and lockdowns possible:
To prepare the terrain for the Jesuit version of the Great Reset, which is presented by the Jesuit-educated Klaus Schwab here:
Jesuits lack creativity, and the only thing they managed to do is to steal the idea and to plan for the inverted version of the positive financial Reset:
Jesuit, Rothschild and Rockefeller factions have made trilateral agreements to join forces in their plans:
Nevertheless, the negative Great Reset will NOT be successful:
Although their plans will come very close to actually manifesting:
Meanwhile, positive Dragon forces are working silently behind the scenes. Most of their plans can not be made public yet, the only thing I can say is they are supporting Chinese civilian space exploration, trying to make it accessible to international community in preparations for Disclosure:
As scientists are researching radio signals from Proxima Centauri:
Ding Yu, a Chinese pop singer, who was appointed as space music promotion ambassador by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Communication center in June, was singing a song named The Age of Aquarius on Chinese national TV on December 19th, promoting our meditation:
My team has arranged a full translation of the famous Haim Eshed exopolitical interview from Hebrew into English. Although intel in that interview is not 100% correct, the interview itself will be interesting for many:
Positive factions have managed to infiltrate the Space Force, removing some of the Chimera agents from there. At some point in the future, the Space Force may play a role in the First Contact between humanity and the Ashtar Command:
An updated version of The Portal book with the posts from this blog is available here:
And a book about Tachyon chambers here:
The best is yet to come:
Tuesday, December 22, 2020
The critical mass has been reached. Full report will be posted in a week or two.
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A highly sought after spiritual intuitive and personal growth leader, Tania Gabrielle inspires legions of praise from her clients and followers. Tania introduced the merging of two ancient divination arts – Astrology and Numerology – to the Western World, unlocking the codes in the stars, names and numbers to facilitate wealth and well-being with a primary focus on teaching spiritual principles that manifest practical, real-life results.
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Your Infinite Powers
We come to you today, to affirm you and remind you of who you truly are.
We begin by saying: your knowing is clear. There is nothing wrong here. You have direct access to everything in life. Everything is possible for you, no matter what the present moment feels or looks like.
It is important to you, for you, in this moment, in any moment, to begin with a fundamental premise about Life and your Life in embodiment: there is nothing wrong here.
Begin with the premise that All Is Well, including YOU, your life, your choices, your body, your current state of being…EVERYTHING. Start with the assumption that ALL IS WELL. This means EVERYTHING!!!
All Is Well.
Everything that is, is something that is. It is just something that is. Nothing more. Nothing less.
There are many beautiful things to feel and notice about everything that is. That is how it is.
Learning this is liberation. For you. For everyone.
What you feel in life is not dependent on what-is. What-is, reflects what you think, to be sure. But what-is, even if it seems to be showing up as a reflection of less than what you want, still has within it, the potential for alignment — the potential for being a point of focus that can bring you into fulfillment, joy, happiness, ease, and well-being.
Learn to see the beauty in the moment. Learn to use your focus creatively, selectively, with imagination, so that you feel the way you like feeling.
More than anything, we want to show you, teach you, support you, remind you that you are a CREATOR. And by this, we mean and express explicitly for clarity’s sake right now: A CREATOR who is UNCONDITIONALLY CREATIVE!
Nothing limits you. Nothing.
You are capable of creating your state, your energy, your life, no matter where you are now and no matter what is going on. Nothing – no person, not your history, not your past experience, not your parents, not limiting ideas you internalized when you were young, not the “bad” food you ate yesterday, not the “debt” you have now, not the feelings you have that make you sad… nothing need limit you.
And nothing does limit you.
You are infinitely powerful beings of light.
Infinitely powerful beings of light.
These are not just words.
Some people reading this will laugh at this. Will think this is metaphysical crazy-woo-woo-stuff. But it’s not. And it’s okay if someone feels that way. All choices are valid here.
Life is energy; waves collapsing into particles and taking shape in forms made real through the focus of consciousness. How is consciousness focused? By you. Consciousness is flowing into focus, through each and every person in your world. Each of you lives in a world of your own making. Some people think the world is falling apart and others who are looking at the same things feel joy and optimism. It is of your own making. It is about how you use your focus.
You might consider this as being about attitude. Your general approach to life. We like the word attitude. We’ve started using it more lately because it speaks to a general tendency in mood. You can choose an attitude that benefits you and practice that, or not. You can continue with the position about life that is familiar, and you will get much more of what-is. If you love that, more power to you! Do what you want.
Just know dear one, that there is more.
There is more available to you than what you’ve yet experienced.
You came here FOR the experience of never-ending expansion. You came for the ongoing unfoldment of newness and the feeling of creating your own life and experiencing what you create. That is why you are here.
Expression, and experiencing your expression is LIFE. IS what it’s all about. Everything else you’ve been told about life and the purpose and meaning that is yours, are stories. Stories that you can embrace and use, but made up and optional, entirely optional.
Everything you are experiencing right now is entirely optional. Ponder that for a moment, please.
Nothing is predestined. Nothing is “meant to be,” except you being here, free and resourced to Create. All else is flexible. Plastic. Fluid. Dynamically responding to you, to your choice in focus, to your vibrational state – the way your presence is emanating and that is a combination of how you are focused now and your current momentum of mood, of attitude, of belief. All of which you shape, perpetuate (most of the time) and can recreate to your heart’s desires!
Discovering that you are infinite and powerful, here, is a choice of radical freedom. Learning how to allow yourself to live this radical freedom, is about continually permitting yourself to be who you truly are. This means allowing yourself to change, to choose, to think differently, to be different. It is you embracing your innate capacity to be deliberate – to choose how you are focused. Reclaiming your innate powers, this radical freedom, comes about when you allow yourself to explore, practice, feel, notice, discover how you work! How life works in connection with you. This way of being can feel more and more natural to you as you learn to listen to and trust yourself.
You can learn to live in ways where you are continually feeling capable and connected, confident and free to be you, here. This is about clarity. Clarity and coherence. This is not a given; this is a skill that is remembered, learned, practiced. The order, balance, the harmonic perfection of who you truly are, expressing here, without inhibition is a state of being.
For most people mastering life in this way is a progressive experience, and one of great joy. You change how you’re orienting, and you practice using your focus differently. You notice what works what helps, what produces better feeling states, more clarity. You learn to be more relaxed with yourself. You remind yourself of what matters to you.
As you becoming more and more skillful, you feel the way you like feeling more often. So the entire experience from here to wherever you’re choosing to flow is one of mostly joy, and lots of expansion, growth, remembering, opening and experiencing changes in feeling and manifested life. Changes that show you, you’re altering the way you’re being, and life is listening. Life is always rearranging itself, for you, based on what you’ve made real. What you’ve treated as important.
When you live, allowing yourself to notice the connections between these things and honoring the inner knowing you have about who you are and how life works, you practice yourself into an attitude of empowerment. You learn you can trust your inner knowing and you can do this.
You are equally capable of practicing yourself into an attitude of disempowerment. That’s the nature of being powerful here – in a world where the choices are wide-open!
Momentum is something that works in whatever direction you invest your energy. The more you think in a particular attitude or approach life in a particular way, the easier it is to live that way and orient that way and feel that way and expect and act in ways that correspond with that approach to experience.
Given this, it takes a bit of focus and effort to change your attitude, to create the momentum of a new mood in life. Learning you can do this is a beneficial skill. Learning you can do this and that it takes a little time for things to feel different and show up differently, is very helpful to you.
We want you to feel confident about living your life. We want you to feel happy, free, capable, supported, and clear about how life works. We want you to discover the pathways, the ways of living – focusing and being – that serve you. You can build the daily habits of behavior and focus that keep you in the groove of expecting wonderful and knowing who you truly are.
That is what we’re all about and what we’re excited about sharing with you. That is the aim of our communication and all the invitations we offer to collaborate, connect, learn, practice, experiment and expand. Everything we are transmitting to you and expressing here, is given because we love our role and that is our role: to support you in being here, as fully and freely as you decide you’d like to be.
Lastly, dear one, we want you to truly hear us when we say this: All Is Well, no matter what you choose. No matter what you do. Everything in LIFE benefits from you being you as you are you, now.
You are a tremendous gift to Creation! Just as you are~!
You are so beautiful. Your life and all you emanate and shape – all you Create, is so enjoyed, so deeply appreciated!
Everything that is, is expanding because of you and we want you to feel how joyous that expansion is! In ALL that you are choosing.
No matter how you are feeling now, you are still, a powerful infinite creator.
We know that you love feeling good and of course you do!
We suggest that you learn to use your innate powers in consciousness, for joy. We invite you to rediscover your unconditional capacity to create!
We remind you that you came here knowing we would be present within you and transmitting to you, through messengers like Ailia and others, and more importantly – that you have within you, direct access to everyone and everything you will ever need to be who you truly are, here.
You came here knowing you were fully resourced, supported, loved, perfect, eternal, inviolable, capable and FREE. The enthusiasm you felt about embodiment, was a passion beyond words.
Feel within you now, for the truth of what we have offered here.
Trust your inner sense of what is real and important for you, now.
Let everything else go.
Choose yourself. Value yourself. Cherish yourself. Love yourself. Celebrate yourself.
Reclaim a confident, informed orientation to embodiment, here and now.
Live as the Powerful Infinite Being You Are, here!
Begin where you are. Start here, now. Pause for a moment and “put on your optimistic glasses.”
Tune your consciousness, to the frequency of possibilities and expansiveness.
Feel the stillness within you and how it opens to spaciousness.
USE YOUR FOCUS in ways that serve you!
You are One with Everything that is.
Anything is possible!
Big aims. Small steps. Begin with your attitude and adjusting it to serve your aims.
Start now. Now is perfect! All is well and you are free.
Give yourself permission to Create!
Be who you truly are.
We are complete. I AM Archangel Michael with the Council of Radiant Light.
How your brain distorts the world to support your emotional attachments to certain ideas
Belief is a powerful and necessary thing, governing our societies, our day-to-day and inner lives, our thoughts, hopes, plans, and relationships. You believe that the plane will leave the runway, that working hard will lead to a promotion, that the candidate you support is the best one for the job. Some things you believe because a pattern of experience suggests you should: The sun has come up every morning so far, so why should tomorrow be any different?
But other things you believe even despite logic and evidence to the contrary: The next lottery ticket you buy will be the big one, you can feel it.
Belief is like that; some things you believe because you just do. No one, no matter how brilliant or how educated, is immune to irrational convictions, says Paul Zak, a neuroscientist at Claremont Graduate University. For example, “Linus Pauling was a two-time Nobel Prize winner, one of the most respected scientists ever, and he believed vitamin C was a cure-all for things and spent a lot of years pushing it despite being totally unsupported by medical evidence,” Zak says. “He was as smart as they come, but he deluded himself that this thing was true when it wasn’t.”
That’s because the relationship between belief and fact often goes one way: “Our brains take the facts and fit them to reinforce our beliefs,” Zak says, and those beliefs don’t need to make sense to be deeply held. It’s a relationship that has both benefits and drawbacks — but knowing when it’s helping and when it’s doing us a disservice requires an understanding of how we form emotional attachments to those beliefs.
“To become aware of our biases, we need to understand how our emotions play a role in our decision-making and belief processes,” says Jonas Kaplan, a professor of psychology at USC’s Brain and Creativity Institute. “Most of the time, it’s a good thing. It’s an old, wise, biological system that’s there to help us, but it’s not always relevant to modern life.”
Our earliest beliefs begin to form long before we’re even really cognizant of them. Our brains, Zak explains, are designed to look for patterns, which “allow us to navigate through the world, survive, and reproduce.” Eventually, our dependence on a pattern becomes a belief in its power.
Some of those early beliefs form through observation. For instance, “by about three months old, children understand gravity,” Zak says. “They believe that if you drop a ball, it will hit the ground. So, if you let go and the ball hovers in the air, those infants will look at it like, ‘What the hell?’ The hovering ball violates this tenet they’ve already come to believe.”
Other beliefs are passed along to us from our families and communities, who transmit many of the foundational ideas that shape how we see the world. Evolutionarily speaking, we are herd animals, and there’s an advantage to going along with the crowd. Those group beliefs, in turn, work their way into our most basic concept of who we are. “The systems in the brain that light up when we access our beliefs are the same systems that help us understand stories,” Kaplan says. “We see a lot of the same brain systems involved when people think about who they are and about the beliefs that are most important to them.”
Kaplan describes a neural system known as the default mode network, a set of interconnected areas of the brain associated with identity and self-representation. “It’s the area that lights up in brain imaging when you ask people to lie there and do nothing,” he says. “Of course, they’re not doing nothing. They’re thinking — about themselves and their future and their plans. It also lights up when people read stories with values they consider deeply important to them and when people think about their political beliefs.”
When your most deeply held beliefs are challenged, “many of the most biologically basic brain systems, those responsible for protecting us, kick into high gear.”
In a study published in 2016 in Scientific Reports, Kaplan and his colleagues conducted brain imaging on participants as they read arguments that contradicted their views on issues, both political and nonpolitical, and documented their neurological response to the opposing information. The results of the team’s persuasive efforts were mixed. “We were able to change minds about things like whether Thomas Edison invented the lightbulb and if multivitamins are important,” he says, but other beliefs — those Kaplan calls the “sacred values” — were all but immovable.
The reason those so-called sacred values are so difficult to change, Kaplan says, is that they’re surrounded by a complex network of mental safeguards. When your most deeply held beliefs are challenged, “many of the most biologically basic brain systems, those responsible for protecting us, kick into high gear,” Kaplan says. “These are things like the amygdala, which tells you when to be afraid, and the insula, the part of your brain that processes visceral feelings from the gut and tells you things like if you’re encountering food that’s bad for you. We have a strong motivation to defend those sacred values.”
Of course, not every belief is sacred. So, what determines the strength of our convictions and sets the ones worth protecting apart from the rest? Most of the time, it’s tied to our emotions.
“When you establish your beliefs, if they include emotional tags, the brain saves that information differently so it’s more accessible and impactful,” Zak says. “The strongest beliefs are tied to things like 9/11 or the birth of a child; highly emotional events create beliefs that are almost impossible to change.”
So much of our identity is social, and so many of our social connections are founded on shared beliefs. Ultimately, Kaplan says, most people find it simpler to maintain both their established beliefs and their social circle than to consider a drastic value shift, for reasons that are as practical as they are mental.
“People say, ‘I can’t change my mind. What would my friends think of me?’ People who radically change their political beliefs, for instance, lose a lot: social relationships, jobs, romantic partners,” he says. “There’s a lot at stake when you’re considering changing a belief.”
Our tendency to cling to our beliefs may feel better than the alternative, but that doesn’t mean it’s in our best interest. Our primary self-defense tactic is to remove the threat and avoid anything that might challenge our worldview, which is how so many of us end up living in a feedback loop, surrounded by people who share the same opinions. The effect is only exacerbated by our reliance on social media.
“The world is an information minefield right now,” Kaplan says. We also need to think carefully about which beliefs we allow into that protected inner circle, he adds. “It makes sense to share beliefs and values with people, and it makes sense to defend those beliefs. But to have beliefs that are epistemological — that things are true or false about the world — and be unwilling to hear otherwise could be very dangerous.”
As for all the other little beliefs tucked away in your head, Zak says, you don’t necessarily need to interrogate everything. “Praying the plane lands safely probably doesn’t change anything, but what’s the harm?” he says. “If holding on to the hope that winning the lottery is the solution brings you comfort, why not?”
“If you don’t have some beliefs, you just can’t get through the world,” Zak says. “These rituals and beliefs are really reinforcing, they’re really nice, and there’s something beautiful and distinctly human about them.”
Kate is a freelance journalist who’s been published by The Cut, The Washington Post, USA Today, Slate, O Magazine, and others. Read more at bykatemorgan.com.
Friday, December 14, 2018
with energies of innocence and joy and togetherness.
as various possibilities can suit different beings at different times.